This day in history

On this day in history: October 10, 1973, Academic Senate approved a motion to endorse a proposal that Central enter a bid to host the 1975 International Special Olympics. That past spring Central hosted the state-wide Special Olympics for the first time, during which about 1,600 students participated and 2,000 others volunteered for the two-day duration.

The request for Central to host the event came from the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation and it was suggested it would take three people, a director, games director and secretary, working part-time for 17 to 18 months to get everything ready. It would not be announced until April 1974 that Central won the bid to host the games, with over a year of planning anticipated.

According to M. LeRoy Reynolds, an associate professor of special education, it would cost about $250,000 to host the 1975 games with all the money raised through fundraising, donations and grants. Advantages for the university in hosting the event would include national publicity, prestige, easier recruiting and some possible financial gain.

In 1975, CMU hosted the fourth annual International Special Olympics. They took place from August 7 to 11 and welcomed 3,200 athletes to Mount Pleasant and campus. Some contestants traveled from as far away as the Phillipines, and in addition to actual competition, contestants had the chance to explore a little bit of the state.

During Exploration Day, contestants traveled to other Michigan communities and took part in some non-athletic events that gave them the chance to have a full experience during their time here, like traveling to Frankenmuth or attending a rodeo in Mount Pleasant. A carnival also took place after opening ceremonies that featured a celebrity concert with multiple performing artists.

While hesitant at first to host the event, university officials were pleased with the overall outcome of the games.